Have online forums had their day?

Discussion about miscellaneous topics not covered by other forums
blythburgh
Posts: 16966
Joined: Tue Jun 29 2010 7:14pm
Location: The Far East
Has thanked: 32579 times
Been thanked: 6011 times
Contact:

Re: Have online forums had their day?

Post by blythburgh » Tue Jan 04 2022 10:48am

planteria wrote:
Tue Jan 04 2022 10:41am
fwiw i haven't seen any issues raised with anyone's background or choice of partner, but i suppose it doesn't relate to personal finance which tends to be the little section i check in on.
We are a nice bunch, the FB groups I belong to are nice people. But I can remember watching "Question Time!. Poor David Dimbleby said "you in the blue jumper, yes you. If I say the lady in the blue jumper I will be inundated with messages saying I should not say lady but woman. But if I say woman I will be inundated with messages saying I should not say woman but lady."

A poll recently said a large percentage of people no longer express their true views for fear of what others will say. And this was affecting them online and in the real world where they were talking face to face.

What a sad world we live in when we are scared to say what we really think.
Thanked by: MrsXfile
Keep smiling because the light at the end of someone's tunnel may be you, Ron Cheneler

Chadwick
Posts: 2307
Joined: Mon Jul 05 2010 4:21pm
Has thanked: 1147 times
Been thanked: 2459 times
Contact:

Re: Have online forums had their day?

Post by Chadwick » Tue Jan 04 2022 11:17am

I think forums tend to flourish when there is common ground amongst the membership. I think this holds true for 'traditional' forums like this one, and for the 'new' social media groups. The more niche the topic, the more depth there is to the discussion.
That's probably why major news announcements go unremarked here: this isn't a current affairs group. Our common ground is cashback and related money-saving tips, and it feels like there isn't much to discuss at the moment.

Another factor is that social media has encroached on, and some cases replaced, the role of the long-form forum for communication. Social media groups are much more accessible than web forums like this one. New topics and responses are literally delivered to my hand with a little beep to announce their arrival. It takes barely seconds to read, and acknowledge, them. Facebook and (I think) Twitter even work out which comments are likely to be more interesting to me, based on my previous behaviour.

Social media however tends to encourage shorter responses. Hence the amount of insults. It's much easier to just dismiss someone's contrary opinion than it is to write a rebuttal and explanation. Especially when you're doing it with your thumb from a moving vehicle. Forums like these tend to better suit lengthy notes (like this one!) just because you're already sat at a proper keyboard and have invested time and effort just to navigate to the topic.

In the case of iMutual, I think we're seeing a combination of factors.
  • Firstly there is slicker competition with phone/tablet friendly websites. This is how people operate now, an app is almost de rigeur. That has pulled people away.
  • There is also less to talk about in terms of cashback and money-saving, so why bother to visit the forum?
  • Discussion on other topics (sport, politics, etc) occurs on social media now, where it is faster and easier. Why come here to air your concerns about the FA transfer window when you can do so to a wider or more interested audience on Facebook?
  • As participant numbers dwindle, we enter a downward spiral with only certain topics generating interest and the same people making the same comments each time. The forum becomes more of a clique with references to previous comments and in-jokes, making it harder for new participants to join in.
I think we have to change something in the above in order to revive this forum, and possibly the same is true of other 'traditional' forums like this.

pabenny
Posts: 2364
Joined: Tue Jun 29 2010 5:21pm
Has thanked: 637 times
Been thanked: 1875 times
Contact:

Re: Have online forums had their day?

Post by pabenny » Tue Jan 04 2022 12:47pm

A perceptive analysis, thank you.
Thanked by: blythburgh

macliam
Posts: 10326
Joined: Thu Jul 18 2013 12:26pm
Location: By the Deben, Suffolk
Has thanked: 1559 times
Been thanked: 8509 times
Contact:

Re: Have online forums had their day?

Post by macliam » Tue Jan 04 2022 8:29pm

Well, at least we're getting a bit of discussion, so that's a plus. :thumbup:

However, as I said at the outset, the malaise in forums isn't restricted to Imutual. Watching another forum I've used since 2013 rip itself apart is far worse than seeing the coma that imutual has fallen into....

I think the comment about short retorts and insults is well made - and those drive the occurrence of trolls and other miscreants who help to drive the infected forums to a point of no return.
Thanked by: blythburgh
Just because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get me

Luke_PieStalker
Posts: 2106
Joined: Tue Jul 06 2010 3:25pm
Has thanked: 568 times
Been thanked: 1388 times
Contact:

Re: Have online forums had their day?

Post by Luke_PieStalker » Wed Jan 05 2022 6:32am

I think it boils down to the forums being quiet because the site is quiet. I don't think many are making much from here from clicks/offers so less people bother to visit and there's your knock on effect for the forums.

If there was money to be made here, I am sure things would be louder but like most cashback sites, it's slim pickings.
Thanked by: blythburgh

Chadwick
Posts: 2307
Joined: Mon Jul 05 2010 4:21pm
Has thanked: 1147 times
Been thanked: 2459 times
Contact:

Re: Have online forums had their day?

Post by Chadwick » Wed Jan 05 2022 8:33am

There's still plenty of cashback for normal purchases. It's the freebie dailies that have disappeared (remember the halcyon days of Momondo giving >£1 per click...)

However, there is competition for normal cashback, and most of it looks slicker, works more smoothly and has an app. Some even advertise on radio and TV. It's not surprising a lot of people have switched to an alternative that is easier to use and appears to be more 'legitimate'.

That drop in footfall is reflected in the forum, and we get the chicken and egg scenario where fewer forum visitors means less posting of money-saving offers, loopholes, deals etc; and fewer posts means less incentive to come and visit.
Thanked by: blythburgh

pabenny
Posts: 2364
Joined: Tue Jun 29 2010 5:21pm
Has thanked: 637 times
Been thanked: 1875 times
Contact:

Re: Have online forums had their day?

Post by pabenny » Thu Jan 06 2022 8:41am

Chadwick wrote:
Wed Jan 05 2022 8:33am
There's still plenty of cashback for normal purchases. ...
Except that rates here are, by and larger, lower than at the big 2, and the selection of merchants smaller.

Not to mention the bonus deals each offers, the enhanced redemption options, and even just weekly emails.
Thanked by: blythburgh

blythburgh
Posts: 16966
Joined: Tue Jun 29 2010 7:14pm
Location: The Far East
Has thanked: 32579 times
Been thanked: 6011 times
Contact:

Re: Have online forums had their day?

Post by blythburgh » Thu Jan 06 2022 9:24am

pabenny wrote:
Thu Jan 06 2022 8:41am
Chadwick wrote:
Wed Jan 05 2022 8:33am
There's still plenty of cashback for normal purchases. ...
Except that rates here are, by and larger, lower than at the big 2, and the selection of merchants smaller.

Not to mention the bonus deals each offers, the enhanced redemption options, and even just weekly emails.
The big boys can always get the best deals whether it is a supermarket group or a cashback site
Keep smiling because the light at the end of someone's tunnel may be you, Ron Cheneler

macliam
Posts: 10326
Joined: Thu Jul 18 2013 12:26pm
Location: By the Deben, Suffolk
Has thanked: 1559 times
Been thanked: 8509 times
Contact:

Re: Have online forums had their day?

Post by macliam » Thu Jan 06 2022 12:23pm

Actually, apart from special offers, I have often found rates here much the same as on TCB (I refuse to pay them for "special treatment"). I can't comment on Quidditch, as they defrauded me of my payable earnings when their "customer advisor" decided I was persona non grata after many years membership.

I do check, but in my limited usage I'd say the split is more 50/50 where the same merchant is concerned, but I would agree that there are more merchants on TCB and not so many sitting in "limbo" (suspended).

However, by and large, I still think IM is relevant in the mix - and moreso due to the forum and the customer service (although that does seem to have dropped off lately). The loss of kev has left us exposed in the "fun" area, as he covered for IM in providing many "extras" - particularly as the official "bonus" competitions etc. from the site have also dropped away to almost nothing.

The thing is, if we value the site, the future is somewhat in our hands as the less it's used, the less revenue it generates and on and on until it becomes uneconomical..... and then we will no longer have a choice to make. At that point, it will be no use blaming Richard.......
Just because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get me

pabenny
Posts: 2364
Joined: Tue Jun 29 2010 5:21pm
Has thanked: 637 times
Been thanked: 1875 times
Contact:

Re: Have online forums had their day?

Post by pabenny » Thu Jan 06 2022 1:00pm

We've had this sort of discussion before and it doesn't really go anywhere. The site owner lost interest years ago and has largely been in denial about the declining fortunes.
Thanked by: Richard Frost

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests